Priya Gore's Journey From Engineer To Artist After Migrating To Australia From India

"Thinking about art as a career was an impossible pursuit, dreaming about going to Mars would have been an achievable dream compared to being a professional artist."

Priya Gore

In just two years since leaving her full-time engineer job, Priya Gore has forged an incredibly impressive art career that has taken her work to private and public collections all around the globe.

As she now showcases her work at The Other Art Fair in Sydney, we chat to Gore about about her creative process, career advice, and how her move from India to Australia helped play a role in her becoming the artist she is today.

Congratulations on featuring at The Other Art Fair. Tell us a bit about your involvement.

This is my first ever major art fair. Participating in The Other Art Fair gave me a clear direction and a goal for the first half of this year and I am sure to be participating in The Other Art Fair all across the world just for the exposure it offers me. I think The Other Art Fair is unique in its own way, it promotes the artists more than the art and gives them complete freedom and support to promote themselves. I just loved the journey with the organisers and the other artists so far. Congratulations to The Other Art Fair organisers for being such rockstars and cheerleaders for the independent artists. So happy and proud to be part of this! 

How long does the artwork take to create?

I believe artists are often moody creatures, at least I know I am. Sometimes a painting can take four weeks to finish, and sometimes a similar painting can be finished in a few days. Tongue in cheek response is, a painting takes me 10 years to complete as it is an amalgamation of all the paintings I have painted since my first ever attempt, and the latest piece is factually a compound effect of all those hours spent in front of the easel.

What is your usual creative process and where do you seek inspiration? 

Australian rainforests offer an abundance of natural wonder. The bush walks and coastal hikes replenish the emptiness of the soul with a long-lasting creative energy. My life revolves around the exploration of nature’s intricacies that are often hidden in the obvious. I prefer sketching what I see wherever I go. Sketching to enjoy or capture the essence, to understand the mystery that is nature not to seek any end result or rewards as such.

Being in nature amongst the beautiful birds, animals, trees of the rainforest and the ocean has had a profound effect on my mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. My yoga and meditation practice, breath work and cold showers enhance the experience of my day-to-day creative journey.

Priya Gore

Priya Gore. Image Source: Supplied

Could you please share a bit about your cultural heritage and connection to Australia? Did you grow up here or overseas, and was art always something you wanted to pursue? 

I come from a small village in India (the village is so tiny that everyone in the town shares the last name) and grew up alongside 28 cousins. I became an engineer as it was my first love and it took me all around the world. When it got me to Australia, this country opened many doors for me which others couldn't. The logical skilled based system got us Australian PR even before entering this country. Being an Australian citizen, pursuing art as a full-time career was a joyful ride for me. This country and the overall work culture and work/life balance enabled me to think creatively. It gave me that much needed mind space and freedom. Australia is home now.

How long have you been an artist and is it a career path that you’ve always been supported to pursue by family and the South Asian community?

I had to rebel against my entire family just to become an engineer. My people back home wanted me to become a doctor like all my other cousins. Thinking about art as a career was an impossible pursuit, dreaming about going to Mars would have been an achievable dream compared to being a professional artist.

I don't believe in the concept of talent. My grit and compulsive drive to draw and paint got me to leave my full-time lucrative engineering career and since May 2022, I have been a full-time professional artist. I have since been represented by galleries across Australia and USA, online galleries across the world and have an exceptional record of private and public collections all around the globe and yes, my family and friends are now extremely proud of that.

As a woman of colour – and South Asian woman – are there any challenges you have encountered in this field, and if so, how have you navigated them? 

I think constant pursuit of excellence speaks for itself and being a nice person with a smile on your face goes a long long way. Keeping your foot down, head up, having a sense of reality and loving what you do truly works. 

I will say I haven't faced any greater challenges with art as a career as I did with my engineering career. I would say art has been an easier path for me as a woman of colour compared to engineering. 

Keeping an open heart and mind has helped me in general to get accepted and loved by my collectors. Making a full-time living with art is as challenging as making a living with anything, one needs to learn and love to do business, embrace the entrepreneur within you and keep focusing on exposing their art to the world.

Priya Gore

Priya Gore. Image Source: Supplied

What is your advice for others who would like to pursue an art career?

This advice is purely for those who want to make a living from art and not for hobbyists. The two things artists should focus on are 1. Making the art 2. exposing their art. Everything else is unnecessary noise around us. Creating art and exposing it results in sales. Trying to sell art doesn't result in sales.

Don't believe the word talent, it is kind of overrated, confusing and a false ego booster. Believe in action, the practice, the process and the grit above anything.

Invest in yourself which means your time, upskilling yourself (art, business) and marketing/exposing your art as much as you can at the start of the career till you reach where you want to reach. Don't expect that your art career will start supporting you on day 1. Think of it as a tree, when you plant a seed you need to nurture it like a baby for years to come without any expectations and one day it will start giving you back slowly but eventually it will be consistent and abundant. 

Priya Gore is one of many artists appearing at The Other Art Fair, Sydney that's taking place from May 16-19 at White Bay Cruise Terminal. Click here for tickets and program information.